Why Primes are Better than Zooms

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by datagov, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. datagov

    datagov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 2, 2012
    New York
    Tonight I attended the Open Government Partnership Meeting at the UN and brought along my E-M1, P20, O45, and Canon fd 100 f2. Lighting was OK for an indoor conference room, and I shot at f1.8 straight through. Sorry, no f2.8 zoom could ever capture shots like these at ISO 800. In the photos are the Presidents of USA, Indonesia, France, and South Africa and the Prime Minister of Denmark.

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  2. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Lol @ silly blanket statement.

    I can think of 50 scenarios where the zooms mop the floor with primes (ask any photojournalist...they carry two bodies, one with a wide zoom, one with a long zoom). Primes and zooms serve different purposes and excel at different things. Making a categorical statement like this is pointless.

    Also, why is this in the Olympus camera section?
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  3. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    BTW, if you had a zoom, you could have zoomed in and framed these shots better. Just sayin'.
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  4. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Not surprisingly, the E-M1 could have shot at ISO1600 with an f/2.8 zoom and given you exactly the same pictures. Except with good framing as has been mentioned since primes are rather inferior to zooms for framing in crowded indoor rooms.
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  5. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    ..... exactamundo ......
  6. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    To be fair to the OP, some of the framing here couldn't be fixed by a zoom. Go ahead, try cropping some. When people's heads are in the way, that's what you get. (Note that the latter images could be helped substantially by moving the camera about four inches to the right, however.) The actual problem is the inability to reach over people's heads, plus lenses that are just too short here. An O75 would've done wonders, if he could get a clear vantage point. A 12-40 would confer no advantages at all. A long zoom might, but is presumably an unwelcome companion in this setting when wielded by non-official photographers.

    As usual, "better" and "worse" are about picking the right tools for the job and using those tools the right way.
  7. Why can't zooms and primes just be friends?
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  8. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I'd have to disagree...you could crop (or zoom, if he had the PROPER lens for the job ;)) the heck out of most of these and significantly improve them:

    1 and 2: About 30% of the top and right sides could easily go. They add nothing but distractions to the photos.

    3: Fine the way it is (though I'd still crop the top 1/4 of the photo).

    4 and 5: We've got empty chairs, people not paying attention, a guy's backside, a corner of a screen and an ugly speaker from 1974. All of that could (should) go.

    By the way, I'm a fan of both zooms and primes (my most used lens is a zoom, my most loved lenses are primes).
  9. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    I agree with much that has been said. One of the newer 16MP sensors, like the one I have in the E-M5 for instance, typically do better at 1600 than my E-PM1 did at 800. It's why I gave the E-P1 away. I love shooting with primes,and usually do so, but I may well take a 12-40mm f2.8 to Asia with me in November to cut down on the kit. And if I have to bump up the iso to 2000 in some dim wat, the E-M5 will let me do so. f2.8 just isn't slow anymore, with the kind of performance that modern sensors give.

    Primes better?? Depends on what you're trying to do and the camera you're using.
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  10. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Are primes better than zooms? It all depends .... Neither one fixes color balance though.
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  11. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Forum names are just a guide as what should be posted where. Not absolute law. Its pretty relaxed here - even Sigma threads are tolerated outside the Other Systems subforum.
  12. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    Zooms and Primes are equally good but for different purposes. My two most expensive, and used lenses are split evenly between either camp.
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  13. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    At one time it was no contest. A lot of modern zooms are excellent performers that rival the quality of good primes. I was astounded by the performance of the 14-45 kit zoom that came with my Panasonic G1, so much so that I still use the lens quite a bit. My kit lately consists of a GX7, 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8. Both are small and light enough to allow me to carry them and the camera in a very small bag. With these two zooms I am confident I will get good photos just about everywhere I go. I still to like primes and will often take just one lens and camera with me for a days shooting. My two favorite primes are the Panasonic 25/1.4 and the Sigma 60/2.8. I find that prime lenses tend to be a bit more resistant to flaring than zooms. That is a very general characterization and there many exceptions. A lot of times it is very hard to beat the versatility of a good zoom.
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  14. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Really? You shot a 100mm Canon F/2 lens at F/1.8? If so, why can't you shoot an F/2.8 lens at F/1.8 as well?

    If the issue is whether or not you could shoot this event hand held at ISO 800 with a lens with a maximum aperture of F/2.8, then I think you could. Even lighting and a reasonable amount of it. The faces are the important thing and the speakers are well lit. I'd set my exposure manually in each of those 2 locations because it appears you didn't move your position much in either situation. With image stabilisation in an E-M1 or E-M5 and good hand holding technique I think this sort of work can be done well with an F/2.8 zoom. Choice of focal length will be an issue with the shutter speed and hand holding but you could err on the side of shorter focal lengths and crop later if that became a problem. I'd rather shoot RAW in this sort of situation than JPEG because it would give me more data to use in processing. I think this event could have been shot hand held at F/2.8 and ISO 800.

    If you're going to use shallowness of depth of field as the reason why you couldn't have captured shots like these with an F/2.8 zoom, you're right. You will definitely have more depth of field at F/2.8 but that's the only point I'll concede on the basis of these shots. Then again, they might look a little better with a bit more depth of field since quite a few of the people apart from the speaker in each image aren't really enough out of focus to "blur into the background" leaving the focus on the speaker and not quite sharp enough to share the image with the speaker. I'm not certain the shallower depth of field at F/1.8 significantly improves the images in this case.
  15. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    What was the actual intent of this thread? Shot with the new 40-150mm f2.8, or any of the long zooms, the results would have had better composition for a start. This is a prime example of where you can't zoom with your feet and why photojournalists use zoom lenses. I'd also like to demonstrate that this (Mufti of Australia Sheik Fehmi Naji El-Imam ) was shot with the E-1, 4/3 50-200mm f2.8-3.5, no flash:

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  16. Kai

    Kai Mu-43 Regular

    May 5, 2014
    I would say OP got what he wanted, people wondering why do a troll like post and others defending zooms.
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  17. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    They are...it's just that THEIR friends won't let them be! Just like Romeo and Juliet. Sadness.
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  18. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Because Olympus is also better than Panasonic.

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  19. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Maybe I'm just a small town boy, but these shots are cool enough without starting a pointless fight as a distraction.
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  20. Kai

    Kai Mu-43 Regular

    May 5, 2014
    What does this has to do with my post? I posted my simple observations from the thread. If what I said is somehow offensive, then I apogise.
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